The statement came in light of the massive aerial bombardment launched by Israel Air Force on Iranian targets in Syria early Monday as a response to the surface-to-surface rocket launched at Israeli territory and intercepted by the Iron Dome a day earlier. The Israeli bombardment, which reportedly killed at least 11 pro-regime fighters, had been coordinated with the Russians, according to the IDF.
Israeli military said that the decision to launch the "medium-range missile” had been made by the Iranians “some time ago in an attempt to attack Israel ... The rocket, which could have harmed civillians, was launched by the Iranian forces from an area near Damascus—where we'd been promised the Iranians would not operate from—just dozens of kilometers from Israeli border."
"Syria paid a heavy price for letting the Iranians use its territory for their activities," said the military, adding that the early morning IAF raid in the Damascus area proves “the Syrian regime is taking a risk by allowing the Iranian military entrenchment on its territory.”
In an official statement, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit also said munition storage sites, a site located at Damascus International Airport, along with an Iranian intelligence site and an Iranian military training camp, had also been targeted.
The IDF also said its jets came under fire from anti-aircraft missiles during the raid, prompting it to strike Syrian defense batteries.
"During the strike, dozens of Syrian surface-to-air missiles were launched, despite clear warnings to avoid such fire. In response, several of the Syrian Armed Forces' aerial defense batteries were targeted. Some of the Iranian targets that have been struck were located within Syrian military bases," Israeli military said in a statement.
"The Iranians are in distress because they are not where they want to be. Thus they attempted to carry out an attack that would deter Israel from continuing to act against Iran's attempts to establish its long-term military presense in Syria … They planned to have an Iranian naval and air bases in the region,” said the statement.
Israel’s admission of having carried out the bombardment is another departure from a long-time policy of ambiguity regarding IDF’s activities in Syria.
“The operation is not a precursor to war and it’s not secret. It was carried out in response to Sunday’s rocket attack, which was the third time Iran has launched an attack against us from Syrian territory in the past year and serves as proof of its military entrenchment in the country,” said the statement. “The preparations for the rocket attack on Mount Hermon took time as they required special permits and deployment of weapons, which must have taken months.”